If you are looking to start an online store, you have to know that it is really easy.
Don’t get fooled by people offering you stuff like eCommerce solutions. It’s a fraud, so don’t go with it. But, it’s not always that easy. Some things can be pretty hard. Things like ranking, being the position you get on a search engine, conversion, being the rate that your customer buy things from you, and retention, actually getting your customers to return to your store again.
However, like with any business, you need to follow certain rules when opening an online store. Read about them below.
1. Decide on your system with caution
You need to go with a system that many people use, that’s popular, well supported, and has a good community. Never go with old or obscure custom solutions – they won’t do you any good. A good choice would be Shopify. It’s everything you need, and it is not that expensive – $30 a month.
If you are looking for full code control over your website, good choices would be WordPress with the Jigoshop plugin or OpenCart, which is open source. Both will commonly need you to pay for themes and any additional functionality you desire to use, but as a base platform they are both free.
2. Optimization is key
The slower your pages open the more customers you lose. It’s a fact. Optimize your pages so they load very quickly, otherwise you are going to lose a lot of traffic. It can be avoided without much cost and quite easily, so why would you lose traffic over that?
3. Being unique means a step closer to success
Chances are that you are not actually making your own products. So if you aren’t making your own products, you are using product descriptions and photographs that the manufacturer supplies. If you are looking to be unique, that’s not the way. Write product descriptions by yourself, of course consulting the actual product description. If you want to be even more unique, you can take your own product photographs.
4. Do your research on the competition
The same as for any other business or website. Think of a keyword you are going to be competing in and do a search, and then compare the results you see. If none of the websites in the first results are actually good, that’s great news for you – you are going to have an easier time getting to the top. But, don’t slack, no matter how bad those websites are try to make the best possible website you can.
If they are all excellent websites on the other hand, consider if you can really compete with them.
5. Just selling isn’t enough
The Internet has countless of online stores so customers have a huge choice. They will choose the website they like the most. So just selling things won’t get you out in the open for the customers to spot you and visit you, and actually buy stuff from you. Cost cutting is no way to stand out of the bunch. Look at the major websites. They don’t charge low prices and they even charge premiums, but still they have huge traffic. Why do you think that is? It’s because they are trusted by their customers.
You, when you just open your website, have literally nothing the big websites have. You have no established brand and they don’t trusts you. What you have to do to stand out is to use your unique product knowledge and give the people not just a store, but something greater. Have an amazing blog where you write great posts about your products. Be part of the community that revolves around the product, if there’s any community to start with.
6. SEO is essential
Online stores are a particularly risky territory for SEO. They are notorious for having a really difficult time in this field. And that’s for a good reason.
You see, online stores have product descriptions as their main text, and those descriptions tend to be really short which in turn leads to not much on page content. Search engines see this as low quality.
Product variants will sometimes generate unique URLs with the effect of double content. You should canonicalise them to the main product page.
7. Use customer input to expand page content
Just having a product image and description might seem like it’s enough – but it isn’t. There’s a really valuable asset you are not using here – it’s your customers. People want to share their thoughts on products, let them do that. Some guys or gals even might want to share their own photos of the product. A good idea is to host monthly contests, in which the best product photography wins a prize at the end of the month.
8. Use structured data and videos
Structured data can be added to your page in the form of a special code and is used to describe content like videos or customers reviews. Make sure you include it in your page. Sometimes, Google use this when showing you on the search results.
9. Have a newsletter
Newsletters are a great way to have a captive customers base – which is full of your loyal customers. And that’s something you really want. When a sale is made on your site, make sure a prompt pops up asking the user to sign up for the newsletter. A great way to have your customers come back is to send them a reminder to write reviews or post pictures.
10. Social presence is important
Most of the population of the world is on Facebook, so why should you be the exception. It’s a great tool to utilize to be close with your customers and socialize with them. Interact with them, answer their questions, maybe even give them a sneak peak into products you will be offering in the future, this all gives you social presence and thus brings you closer to your customers.
Pinterest is also a good socializing tool to use for your business.
Make sure you create a social share button on every page on your website.
As you can see, things can get a bit complicated, but stick with these tips, and you’ll push through.
Milan Budimkic is a creative freelance writer for industries that include but are not limited to the travel, sport, entertainment, internet marketing, and much more. When not blogging, Milan likes to travel and read a lot.